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John Bruce "Jack" Thompson (born July 25, 1951) is an American attorney and activist, based in Coral Gables, Florida. Thompson, a self-proclaimed Christian conservative, is known for his public advocacy of conservative Christian moral standards. He is also an activist against video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Bully.

After an initial foray into politics, Thompson concentrated his legal efforts against perceived obscenity, particularly in rap music and broadcasts by radio personality Howard Stern. More recently, he has focused on violence as well, particularly in the content of computer and video games and their alleged effects on children. He is a vocal advocate of banning stylized violence in video games, a role for which he became known in 1997, while representing the parents of the three students killed in the Heath High School shooting.

His involvement with music, gaming, and the media (and especially use of legal threats) have raised questions about First Amendment rights. The Florida Bar permanently disbarred Thompson on September 25, 2008.

Penny Arcade v. Jack Thompson Edit

Aside from creating the I Hate Jack Thompson Shirts on their Penny Arcade Store, Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins, though commenting occasionally on some of Jack's legal spats, in comic form or otherwise, they have never established contact with the Florida attorney. On October 12th, 2005, Gabe sent the first e-mail to Jack Thompson, resulting in a series of events, herein referred as "Penny Arcade v. Jack Thompson".

(The following is the collection of news posts during Penny Arcade's communication with Jack Thompson, posted in order from earliest to latest)

October 12, 2005 - 10:49 AM Edit

Jack Thompson
Wednesday, October 12 2005 - 10:49 AM
by: Gabe
---
You may have seen Jack’s proposal mentioned on various news sites. He’s offering 10 grand to charity if a game developer makes a game based on his insane proposal.
So I got his email address and I went ahead and sent Jack a note this morning:
10 grand is pretty weak man. Through our charity www.childsplaycharity.org gamers have given over half a million dollars in toys and cash to children’s hospitals all over the country.
I’ll let you know if he responds.
The fact is when we kick off Child’s Play 2005 on November 1st we’ll be going global. We’ll be delivering videogames and toys to children’s hospitals all over the world now. I don’t think there’s any better response to Jack’s insane ramblings than that. Maybe Jack would like to donate his 10 grand to Child’s Play, that could buy a lot of Game Boys.
-Gabe out

October 12, 2005 - 11:48 AM Edit

Jack
Wednesday, October 12, 2005 - 11:48 AM
by: Gabe
---
My email sig had my phone number in it. Jack actually just called and screamed at me for a couple minutes. He said if I email him again I will “regret it”. What a violent man.
-Gabe out

October 14, 2005 - 4:30 AM Edit

And All Of It True
Friday, October 14 2005 - 4:30 AM
by: Tycho
---
Jack Thompson really did call him, but I should tell you how that came to be.
As I've suggested in this space before, Gabriel's "super power" (if you will) is to suss out the exact thing that will drive a person out of their fucking minds. He's only utilized this ability on me twice, and it stings to recall them. They're actually too cruel to relate. It's important to me that you sort of like him, even in the abstract.
He felt certain that the over half a million dollars raised by Child's Play would jab him brutally. He was not wrong.
So certain was he that this knowledge would barb the codger into wild madness that he included his phone number in a hastily composed "sig." He was not surprised in the least when a number he did not recognize appeared on his cell. I was trying to collect the Iron Golem soul, I was busy at the time.
Gabe turned to look at me, not just with his head but his whole body, a single motion that had a mechanical look. He asked if it was really Jack Thompson, and it was at this point I knew he had done something wrong. I don't doubt that his adventures, both online and off, are a source of amusement for a percentage of the readership. Secretly, I delight in them - but he must not be allowed to know. His glee in these endeavors is already a kinetic force.
Conversation one is where Jack Thompson asks Gabe if Gabe has ever donated to charity. Of course, we have - it's usually a couple Gameboys a year for Child's Play, but the "take" from the distributed gamer metamind is over five hundred thousand dollars in two years. This answer did not satisfy him. He suggested that if Gabe mailed him again, he would be sued so fast that his head would "spin," and that he, Jack Thompson, had given more to charity that Gabe could even imagine. Gabe isn't very good at math, so he may have a point. I'm told that humbers larger than ten give him a headache. What's more, his donations were more valuable, because he wasn't some flush-with-cash game company. Which I guess is relevant to us, because... Well, I guess it's not relevant.
Then he hung up.
Usually when a person threatens us with a lawsuit we don't really pay attention. The fact of the matter is that rude people and idiots often try to threaten people by gesturing wildly at the edifice of the legal system. But this man is actually a lawyer, and also demonstrably crazy, and he apparently has time to call random people who mail him on the phone so maybe he's looking for something to do. In any case, we aren't a flush with cash game company, so at the very least my cohort wanted to excise this erroneous statement from the record.
This next mail elicited a second call, which we have detailed in the strip. Gabe's own voice rose triumphantly throughout this phase, I thought perhaps he was just getting into the rhetorical spirit of the thing, but the reality is that Jack screamed at him the entire time. The point he submitted went without answer: if a company made his reprehensible game, he would literally have to sue himself and talk about what a bastard he was on national television. Of course, he's not serious. Machination is too glorified a word for what he's doing. Ruse would make it seem debonair. He's essentially holding money hostage from charity, and if someone did make it, even as a joke, he would say that it didn't conform to his "design." This sort of thing is usually called a shell-game. The song license itself he mentions - Lawyers In Love - would probably run anywhere from ten to fifteen thousand by itself.
This vile "challenge" Jack Thompson has put to the supposedly monolithic "game industry" is like a topographical map of the twisted fantasy realm he inhabits. I could excerpt it, but I don't want to be accused of selective editing. The reality is that what he suggests is grotesque. I mean that it is literally disgusting. Of course, the violent acts he's cobbled together here from other games are robbed of a narrative context in which they make sense. Killing Gamestop and EB employees, though? That's not metaphor. He's not being metaphorical. He is batshit fucking loco insane.
In the games I play, I've spent the last week performing surgeries and saving lives - whenever I wasn't in court defending the wrongly accused. You know what I'm saying? Just steeped in subversive moral messages.
(CW)TB out.

October 14, 2005 - 10:30 AM Edit

Uh Oh, Jack!
Friday, October 14 2005 - 10:30 AM
by: Tycho
---
Check this article, real quick. I think you're going to like it.
(CW)TB

October 14, 2005 - 3:27 PM Edit

Chatterbox Video Game Radio
Friday, October 14 2005 - 3:27 PM
by: Tycho
---
We were supposed to be on with these guys a couple weeks ago, but we completely fucked it up. Here is the new info:
Sunday, October 16th
LIVE at:
7pm Pacific
10pm Eastern
3am GMT (October 17th)
It's a real radio show and everything, people can call up and ask questions if they want, etc.
You might have heard the interview these cats did with Jack Thompson a while ago, actually. Here is the link, seeing as it is apparently Jack Thompson day around here.
(CW)TB

October 17, 2005 - 10:47 AM Edit

Yack Thompson
Monday, October 17 2005 - 10:47 AM
by: Gabe
---
Perhaps you read the letter from the National Institute on Media and the Family in which they distance themselves from Jack Thompson. Well Jack has responded to that letter with two letters of his own. He makes some vague legal threats which I have come to discover are sort of his bread and butter. You also get the impression after reading his letters that he believes he was cut loose simply because he is too “hardkore”.
I think we can all agree that young kids should not play violent videogames. I think we can also agree that they should not watch violent movies or read pornographic magazines. That’s a job for parents not Jack Thompson.
You’re all asking me for Jack’s Email and or phone number and I respect that. The problem is that I can’t give that info out. The fact is that Jack had time to call me after :I sent him a sarcastic email. I have no doubt in my mind that he would try and pull some legal bullshit if I post his phone number.
Did I ever mention how much I like VG cats?
-Gabe out


October 17, 2005 - 12:04 PM Edit

You Lose
Monday, October 17 2005 - 12:04 PM
by: Tycho
---
It was only a matter of time until a mod team took Jack Thompson's disgusting revenge fantasy and made it flesh - and, just as I suggested, it was deemed insufficient.
Thompson now claims that his repellent suggestion was "satire," and we must conclude that his financial offer was also satire, some new breed of satire apparently that I'm sure is just hilarious to people in need.
You know what, Jack? We're going to be the men you're not. You said that your insulting, illusory ten thousand dollars would go to the charity of Paul Eibeler's choice. We've got a good guess that he'd direct your nonexistant largesse toward The Entertainment Software Association Foundation, a body that has raised over six point seven million dollars over the last eight years. We've just made the donation you never would, and never meant to. Ten thousand dollars' worth. And we made it in your name.
(CW)TB

October 17, 2005 - 4:39 PM Edit

From Jack
Monday, October 17 2005 - 4:39 PM
by: Gabe
---
I thought you might like to see the mail I got from Jack this afternoon:
This story is completely false and defamatory. Take it down or else.
And my reply to him:
****This is an automated response****
Thank you for contacting Penny Arcade. I’m sorry but I am simply not able to respond to all my fan mail. I want you to know that I’m glad you enjoy the comic strip and I appreciate you taking the time to mail me.
-Gabe out

October 17, 2005 - 6:00 PM Edit

The Adventure Continues
Monday, October 17 2005 - 6:00 PM
by: Tycho
---
You might have read somewhere that Jack is contacting our police department and trying to get us arrested, which is quite true. Here is the document he faxed them.
Jackdocument
The "campaign of harassment" he is describing is the natural result of a public figure making statements that people disagree with, and letting him know their thoughts on the matter via his publically available contact information.
It is critical to establish that this letter isn't anything to worry about. We've been sent worse by better.
(CW)TB

October 17, 2005 - 6:05 PM Edit

fax this
Monday, October 17 2005 - 6:05 PM
by: Gabe
---
Jack puts a nice spin on his case in that letter to the police chief. Here’s a picture of the real reason he’s pissed off at us.
Check
Obviously he didn’t mention anything to the police department about his “Modest proposal” in which he asks that a game be developed in which players urinate on peoples brains and murder kids who work at game stores. He never mentions that he offered ten thousand dollars to charity and then said it was just “satire.” He doesn’t tell the police chief that Jerry and I just donated the ten thousand for him. I wonder why he left that part out?
Our man Robert is cashing in some frequent flyer miles and heading down to San Francisco today. He’ll be attending the ESA’s charity dinner this evening and will be presenting them with our check. Hopefully he’ll take some pictures for us. I guess Jay Leno is going to be there!
-Gabe out

October 17, 2005 - 6:30 PM Edit

Also
Monday, October 17 2005 - 6:30 PM
by: Gabe
---
I just wanted to make a quick note that the page may be up and down today. The server is getting slammed pretty hard. I just wanted to make sure you knew that if the page was down it’s not because of Jack. Well not directly anyway.
Some people have suggested that it might be time to start ignoring the guy and honestly that’s what we had decided to do. However, that was before he tried to have us arrested. Jack is not scary, if you speak to him for even a couple minutes you realize that. What’s scary is that people in the mainstream media listen to him. I don’t think we can just ignore him anymore.
-Gabe out

October 17, 2005 - 7:00 PM Edit

tales from the coot
Monday, October 17 2005 - 7:00 PM
by: Gabe
---
Jack was on CNN tonight to talk about Midway’s new football game. Like I said in my news post above , this is why Jack is scary. Because he has no fucking clue what he’s talking about yet they put him on CNN to talk as though he was an expert. This is a quote from him:
"The NFL wouldn't allow it's name to be used, so that tells you something."
He doesn’t understand that EA purchased the rights to NFL games and that Midway’s new game is a direct response to that. Like I said before the time for ignoring this coot is over. He can’t be allowed to pull this kind of shit anymore.
-Gabe out

October 19, 2005 - 4:30 AM Edit

The Big House
Wednesday, October 19 2005 - 4:30 AM
by: Tycho
---
When that fax came through yesterday, there was some consternation - as I'm sure you can imagine. Rest assured that we have an unbelievably dramatic denouement in the works. Meanwhile, it is our charge to discuss the hottest gamez and systemz!!! So, let us continue.[...]

October 19, 2005 - 11:33 AM Edit

Yack
Wednesday, October 19 2005 - 11:33 AM
by: Gabe
---
Tycho and I remain free men. The fact is that Jack actually sent the fax to everyone but the intended recipient at the Seattle PD. There were a lot of names to remember I don’t blame him. I’ve received literally thousands of emails in the past couple days. They are all commending us for standing up to Jack the way we did. Most of them go on to ask what we can do as a community to stop him. I have to admit that is tempting. The more I think about it the more I think it might not be in our best interest. Let me explain.
You can certainly mail the networks he appears on. You can even send letters to their advertisers. You can contact the senators he speaks with and demand they ignore him. If enough of us do that sort of thing and we do it long enough they will eventually get the message and drop him just like the National Institute on Media and the Family did. Would that be a good thing? I’m not sure.
Jack is not special. He is not a unique snow flake as they say. He is just the latest vocal opponent of whatever is "corrupting" our youth at the moment. When my dad was growing up it was rock and roll devil music. Then it was comic books then movies and rap music. Today it’s videogames. If we were to succeed in getting Jack blacklisted from the major news outlets someone else would simply take his place. Imagine him as an actor playing a part in a play. The point is that Jack Thompson is not important. If he were to be fired a new actor would simply take up the role. The same lines would still be delivered in the same way and the same audience would pay to see it. We are actually fortunate that the current actor is so impotent in his role. Imagine what might happen if some charming, efficacious attorney took his place. The more I consider it the more I think we may be lucky to have Jack playing the part of the alarmist. The alternative might be someone who is actually capable.
-Gabe out

October 21, 2005 - 11:14 AM Edit

oh nos it's teh feds!
Friday, October 21 2005 - 11:14 AM
by: Gabe
---
For the latest development in Jacks ongoing battle with sanity you should check out gamepolitics.com. He is apparently trying to sick the “Feds” on us now. I’m not sure how he imagines we are extorting him. We are not demanding he pay the $10,000 to charity. In fact we paid it for him. Case closed end of story. In my mind we were finished with him.
Apparently many of you took it upon yourselves to send some extremely well thought out complaints to the Florida Bar. I have a feeling that might explain Jack's most recent attack on us. I want to stress that I don’t think anymore mails need to be sent to the FBA. I feel like by now they understand what the situation is.
He can send these silly letters from hell to breakfast but all they amount to his a bunch of legal dry humping. He’s not actually going to accomplish anything with these faxes and they really don’t have the intended effect on us. That is to say we are not scared. This will become another funny story for us to tell at conventions just like American Greetings, eFront or Kiwi Publishing. Again I’ll tell you guys not to worry about us. We have absolutely top notch legal representation. Should Jack actually decide to come after us we’re quite prepared. Until then he’s more than welcome to send ridiculous faxes to any uninterested third party he wants.
-Gabe out

Aftermath Edit

On March 21, 2007 Thompson filed a countersuit to the lawsuit brought against him (Take Two v. John B. Thompson) by Take Two Interactive claiming that they are at the center of a RICO conspiracy. Penny Arcade was named as one of the conspiracy members. At Sakura-Con 2007, Krahulik announced that the charges had been dropped.

Since this debacle, The "I Hate Jack Thompson" merchandise has been removed from Penny Arcade's Store.

To this day, Thompson is still considered "a dick". He is also considered a freak, an idiot, and, in certain circles, a douchewaffle. However, thanks to the Florida Bar, he is no longer considered a lawyer - despite his insistence that he is. Scientists have theorized, however, he will remain a "dick" for years, despite his title being lifted. It is currently feared that he will find a permanent media outlet, and ascend from mere dickery to punditry.

Filmography Edit

External Links Edit

News Posts:

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